A tremendous showing of community support was evident this past Friday during a fundraiser event for the Orange Community Action Association, also known as Meals on Wheels, as local residents and businesses, such as Cloeren Industries, stopped by Sabine River Ford in Orange to purchase hot link lunches and make donations to the organization. Pictured, from left to right, is Ross Smith, Sabine River Ford; Ida Schossow, Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce; Patty Cloeren, Cloeren Industries; and Linda Hughes, Orange Community Action Association. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

Tommy Mann Jr.

For The Record

The show of community support for a local organization which assists senior citizens throughout the county was nothing short of overwhelming this past Friday.

A fundraiser for the Orange Community Action Association, also commonly known as “Meals on Wheels,” was held this past Friday during lunch at Sabine River Ford in Orange. Organized by Sabine River Ford and First Financial Bank, the community responded with thousands of dollars in donations during the brief two-hour event.

“It’s been a great day,” said an obviously overwhelmed and thankful Linda Hughes, director of the Orange Community Action Association. “Everybody has been so great about this and there has been so much support. I knew we had supporters, but the amount of support has been amazing. The number of people who have been here has surprised me.”

Hughes spent much of the two-hour event talking briefly with many of those who attended Friday’s fundraiser, which included friends, former associates and even family members of those who once utilized the much needed program.

“I want to thank everyone for their support,” Hughes added. “Especially Ross and Eva Smith, Stephen Lee and Denish Keszeg for organizing this. They have all done so much in such a short time to make this happen. It’s been a real blessing.”

Ross Smith, owner of Sabine River Ford in Orange, was pleased with the show of support from the Orange community.

Donations of all sizes for the Orange Community Action Association (Meals on Wheels) were pouring in this past Friday, but a surprise check presentation for $10,000 by Ross and Eva Smith of Sabine River Ford helped to make fundraiser event one to remember. Pictured, from left to right, are the Sabine River Ford Alligator, Tommy Durham, Eva Smith, Denisha Keszeg and Ross Smith, Sabine River Ford; Stephen Lee, First Financial Bank; Ida Schossow, Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce; and Linda Hughes, Orange Community Action Association.

Donations of all sizes for the Orange Community Action Association (Meals on Wheels) were pouring in this past Friday, but a surprise check presentation for $10,000 by Ross and Eva Smith of Sabine River Ford helped to make fundraiser event one to remember. Pictured, from left to right, are the Sabine River Ford Alligator, Tommy Durham, Eva Smith, Denisha Keszeg and Ross Smith, Sabine River Ford; Stephen Lee, First Financial Bank; Ida Schossow, Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce; and Linda Hughes, Orange Community Action Association.

“I’m really amazed with the response and amazed with the generosity from the people,” Smith said. “People have stopped by and bought multiple lunches, and others have brought us cash and checks for donations, and there have been some large donations. It’s just such a great cause and this organization is something our community cannot lose. It’s just been fantastic.”

Hughes announced in late-July the Orange Community Action Association was facing considerable financial trouble and she was concerned if answers to funding problems were not resolved then the organization may not be able to continue.

She stated rising insurance costs, an aging fleet of delivery vehicles and increasing repairs, funding cuts and a lack of volunteers have all combined to make continuing to provide service to those in need more difficult.

The Orange Community Action Association delivers as many as 300 meals per day, while it serves approximately 385 meals per day, five-days-per week. Of the meals not delivered to home-based clients, meals are taken to locations in Orange, as well as Optimist Village in Pinehurst, and locations in Bridge City and Little Cypress.

The Orange Community Action Association not only provides meals to its clients several days each week, but it also provides transportation to senior citizens are no longer afforded the luxury of driving. For $1 per ride, the OCAA will transport seniors within the immediate local area so they can go shopping, make doctors appointments and various other errands.

The Meals on Wheels program delivers meals to senior citizens ages 65 and older and to those who are disabled. It also provides meals for those who are age 60 and older who eat at one of the food location stations such as the OCAA office and the one at Optimist Village, the Bridge City senior center and others.